Friday, May 23, 2014

Jaunts into Space: Informal Excursions to the Show Places of the Sky (1935)

OK this book is much earlier than my 1945 self-imposed limit. This 1935 book is one of many astronomy books written for children.  Buck Rogers had appeared in the comic since 1929 and people were familiar with the idea of rockets going into space from that and other science fiction. What was more interesting was the non-fiction which suggested that this was also a real way to explore space.  A number of astronomy books mention this possibility.

Underwood, R.S. Jaunts into space; informal excursions to the show places of the sky (photographs by Yerkes and Mount Wilson observatories with sketches by Everett Fairchild.) Boston: Christopher Pub. House. (79 p.) 20 cm 1935.

I liked the cover and this block of text captures that feeling that something was going to happen soon.

It doesn't sound much like non-fiction does it? Many of these books used a "magic spaceship" to help learn about the planets. In addition these books introduced the idea that maybe there was life on other planets.  Both as an idea (presented to children) that we are not alone but also it created a destination in space.  Space travel is all about dropping in on the neighbors.

Monday, May 12, 2014

This is the Moon (1946)

Happy 400th post to me!

Yes this is the 400th post to this blog. 

I truly was not sure I had this many books (and ideas) to share.

So for my post today I share a book from 1946. Just post-WW 2 seems to me to be the expansion of non-fiction for children about space. I have found very few of these early books but happened across one I had not seen before. These early books are a sort of forced blend of a chapter like "Your trip to the moon" mixed with a bunch of more generic material on the history of the moon in mythology and astronomy.  I find this book particular "perfect" for its illustration of space suits that look like deep sea diving suits. It is this speculation in non-fiction that fascinates me in these books. 

As the jacket copy says "American boys and girls--and indeed boys and girls everywhere--may during their lifetime witness the building and launching of a space ship that would set off for the moon."

Cothren, Marion B. Illustrated by Kurt Wiese. This is the Moon. New York: Coward-McCann. (87 p.) 25 cm. Cloth, DJ. 1946.

"To shoot higher and higher way above the blue sky into a sea of empty space; to drop down on another world; to delve into its long-locked mysteries; then to come back with the story of your thrilling adventures--what a wonderful dream!"

Finally I need to include the last page of the book that encourages children to seek out planetariums as one of the few places they can learn more about this dream.  

A final happy surprise when I got this book was a bookmark made by some child (maybe as a class project). It is an early ticket to an amazing dream.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Peter Fairleys Space Annual (1970)

Just a quick one that I had not shared before. 

Farley, Peter.  Peter Fairleys Space Annual. London :  Independent Television Publications (96 p.) 28 cm.  (1970). 

Peter Fairley was a science journalist for Independent Television his previous children's book was Magpie's ABC of Space, Independent Television Publications, 1969.

Although most of you have seen these illustrations they are still very beautiful. Most are from NASA publications but you rarely see them in colour :)

For those of you keeping count, this is blog post 399. Stay tuned for number 400 very soon!